Tilly and I have been up to London a few times in the last month; using the train is perfect. I don’t have to stress about a long drive, or finding parking. Here are our top tips for taking your dog on the train.
Do your research. Check your train line’s specific rules so you don’t have any surprises on your journey. Tilly and I mainly travel with South Western Railway (previously South West Trains), but each railway’s policy may vary slightly.
Leave extra time for dog related shenanigans. Making sure I have plenty of time to spare makes for a much more relaxing experience, and more importantly a relaxed dog. We all know what dogs are like… You’re running for a train, and BAM nature calls!
- Take your pup for a toilet break before getting on the train to avoid any accidents!
- Find out if your platform/station has escalators. Escalators can be tricky for dogs to navigate and can cause injury. Small dogs can be carried, but if your dog is bigger, I recommend asking where the stairs/lifts are.
Safety first. Train platforms can be dangerous for both humans and animals. For us, a good sturdy harness is essential for keeping Tilly safe and secure.
I lift Tilly on/off trains as she’s only 8kg. But a harness may come in really handy with a larger dog you can’t lift over the gap.
Be considerate. If your train is busy and you and your dog have to sit next to/opposite someone, make sure to ask that person if they are comfortable with a dog next to them. I have to remind myself, not everyone is dog crazy, and some even though Tilly doesn’t set off allergies, other dogs may.
Everyone we have encountered has been most obliging, but it doesn’t hurt to ask!
- If your train isn’t busy, then your dog can sit next to you. But as more people get on, it is good practice to move your dog onto your lap, or the floor underneath your feet, tucked away from the aisle.
- If your dog has a hard time relaxing or being still, it may be worth bringing distractions. An engaging snack usually does the trick with Tilly. Make sure it’s not a smelly one!
- If your dog finds the main carriage a little stressful, then sitting on the floor by the bike area is a great option. Loads more space for dogs to spread out.
Know your dog’s limits. Tilly does well on cross country trains. But the tube is another story! It’s understandable…its hot and noisy. I distract her with treats on the underground, and where possible, walk.
Thank you for reading, I hope you found these tips helpful. Do you take your dog on the train?
Amy & Tilly